Ghosting–no, not the cool Caspers Samantha Hawes might find on the job– is the cruelest form of torture in the modern dating world.
Why do we do it? Maybe we’re scared of hurting feelings. Or we legit dropped our phones in a toilet. Or, in true-millennial fashion, maybe we just can’t even. As dating gets increasingly indirect and more Her-like, it gets easier to coast and ghost, but how are the living meant to exorcise our undead relationships when we don’t even know WTF happened?
Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve been the ghost before. But when I have, it’s probably because we’ve only met once in person, if at all, and it was not a stellar meeting. I probably didn’t feel the chemistry–it happens. Maybe you only answered my attempts to get to know you with one-word responses. Maybe you’re an amateur stand-up comedian and way too into Woody Allen. You don’t know my last name, or maybe even my real name. Maybe we never even exchanged numbers, so I figured neither of us was too attached.
Basically, there’s a huge difference between you and me. I’m a straight, Asian woman with an average body type (whatever that means); not to toot my own horn, but my online profiles get a lot of action–the “you have 999+ likes!” kind of action. Blind, that number seems braggy, but it’s misleading. While my “likes” and “swipes” are plenty, the quality is pretty questionable. Do these swipes come from boyfriend material? Hook-up material? Perverts? Grandpas? People who actually live in America? Real human beings, even? And is all the attention even wanted?
Absolutely not. Just as cavemen evolved to have opposable thumbs, straight men in cyber-dating have evolved to deserve the middle finger. Before we even get to the point when I decide to ghost you, first I need to sift through each, “Hey, Sexy,” “Damn GRL,” [shirtless-mirror selfie], “Hi, I’m 45 and I live in a different state but wanna chat?” message. Not to mention all the winky-face emoticons.
No, not emojis. Emoticons.
Sounds exhausting, right? Well, yeah: it is. It takes time and strength to haul out the trash, and it seems just the tiniest bit unfair that you’re not dealing with the same junk. Listen, dude, I’m not trying to discount your own bad dates. It’s just that your idea of a bad date is when you find out I don’t like Quentin Tarantino movies, and mine is when you tell me, “I’ve never been with an Asian girl before!” (I get this a LOT).
Women deal with a disproportionate degree of offensiveness when it comes to in-app dating. So when I excavate a gem from all that dirt–when dating becomes fun again and not a chore–when I go on six or seven dates with the same person (imagine that!), and you text the same night to say you had fun, and you initiate hand-holding, and I meet your friends (and not just your roommates the morning after), it’s all the more frustratingly unjustifiable when you just… dissipate.
If you met someone else, great! If you walked off a cliff and became a literal ghost, even better! I’ve made the effort to know you, I’ve given you the pleasure of knowing me, so don’t we owe each other a little more than, well, nothing at all?
Here’s our 2017 resolution: let’s give up the ghosting, all of us, and instead text, “Hey, I don’t think it’s going to work out, but good luck!” That’s all it takes–and there’s nothing scary about it.
SwongBird is a little, loud lady who loves sour beer, dogs, pop music, and 75% cocoa chocolate. Give her a shout @SwongBird!